Nkono Teles

Love Vibration

Soundway • 2023

As a producer and arranger, Nkono Teles shaped the sound of Nigeria in the 1980s like precious few others.  From King Sunny Adé to Feladey to Sonny Okosuns and more, the list of those who hired Teles, who was one of the first musicians in Nigeria to work with drum machines, goes on.  

Nkono Teles, who was from Cameroon, where he died in 2011, arrived in Lagos in the early 1980s.  Tony Allen hired him for his new band after he parted ways with Fela Kuti.  Yet, the project didn’t materialise. Musician Steve Black advised Teles, who up to that point had mainly specialised in Cameroonian music such as Makossa, to switch to funk, guided by Cameo and The Crusaders as inspiration.  Teles did not just appropriate the new sound and the possibilities that result from the use of electronic instruments with artistic success.  As a session musician, he quickly made a splash in Lagos and soon began to get involved creatively as well, which quickly earned him regular work as a producer. »Love Vibration« now presents a selection from his three solo albums along with an instrumental he wrote for singer Jane Coleman.  

Besides his work as a producer and arranger, he also released three albums under his own name.  Sound-wise, they can clearly be located in the 80s. However, they still sound pleasantly fresh today, not only because boogie funk, which was not only in Nigeria enormously popular at the time, got a little lost in the whole wave of reissues over the past ten to 15 years.